Thunder and Lightning. When Pete Carroll first became the head coach, fans of the Seahawks expected a Thunder & Lightning backfield that resembled his college teams. Lendale White did get to join the team for a short time lending brief support to those who pictured USC north before getting dumped before even making it to training camp. Seattle fans were hopeful for Leon Washington to have a role in the offense resembling lightning, but it has been all about the feature back, Marshawn Lynch.
More recently, Darrell Bevell's Minnesota playcalling has brought on a curiosity for what kind of substitute for Percy Harvin we can find and how to add to this offense without taking away from the Rice/Tate/Baldwin group too much. Tavon Austin is the object of affections for many, and after a 4.34 second laser-engraved 40 yard dash may now be drafted ahead of the Seahawks pick at 25.
Danny Kelly brought up the missing lightning in a great article about two of the players that might be available later in the draft. But even with Percy Harvin himself on the block (Probably expensive) I think we've overlooked the availability of one of the more electric free agents out there.
Seven seasons removed from his Heisman season, the addition Reggie Bush is often dismissed by fans of many teams for issues ranging from durability to opportunity cost to on-field performance. That has made him a questionable bet to trade real resources for in the past and despite speculation that Pete Carroll's first move might be to acquire Bush and re-live the college glory days, free agency offers the first real opportunity for Seattle to bring Mr. Bush into the fold.
DurabilityDurability recently has been a non-factor, as he's played and started in 31 of his 32 games the past two years while piling up the most offensive touches of his career. His rookie year was the year with the most total touches, with the past two years being the 2nd and 3rd most. Bush's durability hasn't been proven over a 300 carry season, and he's logged some time on the trainers table during seasons where he was not getting the ball much anyways. The upside here is Seattle wouldn't be asking him to produce even 200 carries unless some catastrophic injury bug hits the HB group. Instead, his role would likely be 3rd and long back, 2-HB sets, playing WR-HB-WR formation games and possibly inheriting the KR/PR role from Leon Washington. Bush might not hold up to that, but we certainly have the same issues to discuss with Percy Harvin and the 5'8" 174 lb Austin is no guarantee to hold up over 150 touches either.
Running AbilityBesides durability, Bush is generally regarded as unable to successfully run inside the tackle-box. While his successor with the Saints is running a lot of the package that Bush did, Reggie has upgraded to running well in a zone blocking scheme, averaging 5.0 and 4.3 YPC in 2011 and 2012, on a Dolphins team with a passing game that defenses aren't threatened by. While that demonstrates some skill between the tackles, it may not be enough for a team to see him as their #1 back. Which is exactly how we want it to go.
Bush may have more value to a team that passes more, but the chance to play as an additional piece to such a balanced offense, and with a QB that draws the defenses attention on the ground Seattle could certainly be worth his consideration. Which brings up of course the final concern with Reggie Bush.
CostIn general, the fear with Bush resembles the conversations around Percy Harvin and Darrelle Revis. His cap number to production ratio is not in the team's favor. In this area I just have to advise we wait and see. Lions players have lobbied Bush to join them, and he could bring a Marshall Faulk element to their offense. If a team is willing to give him a job that resembles the #1 HB slot on their team, and a 6-8 million paycheck to match then I can't see Seattle even sticking around to see where that ends up.
If the market for Reggie Bush is as dry as the media speculation around said market, then there's a chance that Reggie doesn't see a starting job offered to him. While many teams would love to offer a partial role to Reggie, Seattle starts to look a lot more interesting at that point, and in my own head I can justify paying Reggie Bush 3-4 or possibly 5 million to play as a HB, returner, and WR on this team. And finally, the fact that Seattle would be paying Bush but not trading away draft picks for Harvin, or spending their 1st on Austin also make this appear to be a chance to get better on more fronts at once.
Is the old lightning Seattle's best decision to add speed to their offense, or does Bush come with too many warnings and cautions to be worth John Scneider's time?